Our mission is to “protect biodiversity and enhance the conservation of South Africa’s wildlife areas through effective economic and social development programmes which contribute to sustainable poverty reduction, economic opportunity and broad-based economic growth in communities suffering from or at a high risk of wildlife crime.”
The Fund invests in the communities living adjacent to South Africa’s national parks, private and community conservancies -creating viable local enterprises, training and employment opportunities for poor households and entrepreneurs who have been historically excluded from commercial opportunities linked to these parks.
Through its investments, the Fund aims to overcome the legacy of exclusion that characterises South Africa’s wildlife–tourism economy. Its investments will directly facilitate, finance and enable the establishment of more inclusive local economies around the country’s parks and protected areas, in which the opportunities and benefits that derive from them are more widely shared. This is a pre-condition for their sustainability.
Through its investments and the commercial partnerships that they enable, the Fund will work to reduce the incentives that drive households and communities that border our reserves to participate in or enable wildlife crime.
Building a more inclusive wildlife-tourism economy to benefit communities living adjacent to South Africa’s conservation areas is a pre-requisite for their survival. Our programmes and the partnerships they enable to create the basis for greater shared value between all stakeholders in the wildlife-tourism value chain, particularly for those people historically excluded from participating in it.
One in every seven South Africans currently directly or indirectly depends on a thriving tourism industry for their livelihood. Around 90% of first time international visitors to South Africa come principally for the wildlife experience, and then go onto other destinations. Poaching threatens the country’s biodiversity and, in particular, the viability of iconic species such as rhino and elephant. If the Big Five were to become the Big Four, SA’s attraction as a tourism destination would suffer severely – with immediate and widespread consequences for economic activity, employment and growth.
The Fund aims to help lay the foundation for sustainable poverty reduction and broad-based economic growth in communities in which it operates and which, as a result of poverty, suffer from and enable wildlife crime. Its investments aim to directly and sustainably enhance the livelihoods, income and employment opportunities available to poor households, which are only possible as a result of a thriving wildlife-tourism economy. Through the commercial linkages and partnerships that are established and strengthened as a result of its activities, the Fund will seek to foster more inclusive local economies in the areas in which it works.
The Fund’s investments will demonstrate the relevance and value of a strong and growing wildlife tourism economy to households and communities for whom there has been little such benefit in the past. As the material benefits of our parks – in the form of employment, enterprise and income opportunities – become more widely shared, so too will local communities’ ownership and protection of these assets.
To realise its conservation goals the Fund will implement a number of development programmes, focusing initially on the operation of the Inclusive Business Linkage Fund
The Fund is a public-private partnership and operates as both a funder and a development facilitator. It works with existing commercial players who have the experience, networks and commitment to create, replicate and scale commercial partnerships of all kinds with historically disadvantaged communities close to the wildlife-tourism value chain.
It will achieve its development goals by leveraging the market links, resources and expertise of established commercial players to create new enterprise, training and employment opportunities in historically excluded communities.
The Fund is opportunity-driven. It will respond pro-actively to good ideas and fresh thinking which contribute to the development and expansion of a more inclusive wildlife-tourism economy.
In 2018, our first year of operation, we aim to establish three distinct but related programmes :
An Inclusive Business Linkage Fund
To establish and scale commercial linkages between high value formal enterprises operating across the local wildlife-tourism value chain, and new and emerging businesses operating in adjacent communities who have historically been excluded from such opportunities. The Tourism Conservation Fund marks its establishment with the launch of this facility.
A Youth Training for Employment Fund
Providing unemployed youth with work-readiness and vocational training appropriate to the job opportunities that exist within the local wildlife-tourism economy. It will work simultaneously with employers to create structured internships for youth who graduate from such training, many of whom will hopefully realise long-term formal employment in the sector.
A Finance and Business Support Fund
For high potential small businesses with the potential to capitalise on and leverage local commercial opportunities for growth.